The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, has reiterated the organization’s commitment to the elimination of systemic corruption and other criminal practices at the nation’s seaports.
He has equally affirmed the Authority’s position to operate in compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as stipulated in the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM), a project it funded to enhance operational excellence and service delivery at all Nigerian seaports and terminals.
The MD NPA made these remarks recently when he received members of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) led by Soji Apampa, at the Authority’s head office in Marina, Lagos.
Koko stated that the NPA Management appreciates the positive role being played by the network in partnership with key sister agencies and organizations to create a more friendly environment for doing business in the nation’s maritime industry.
The NPA helmsman expressed delight that the anti-corruption reforms introduced by the Buhari-led Federal Government have significantly reduced corrupt and related criminal practices in the Nigerian port and shipping sector.
In his words, “the NPA Management under my watch is happy to note that we are doing well in view of the drop in the incidences of corruption to 5 from over 150 cases when this anti-corruption campaign started.
The MD opined that having achieved and addressed the bottleneck with sailing and berthing of vessels, attention should now be on the ease of cargo clearance at the port and ways of boosting the global competitiveness of the country’s exports.
Koko called for better synergy between the critical agencies of government involved in maritime trade in line with the NPPM and the protocols guiding the ease of doing business at the port, as this will bring to an end to long delays in cargo examination, boost the country’s international trade, generate thousands of jobs, increase revenue to the government and raise the profit of private enterprises.
The leader of the MACN team, Soji Apampa, explained that the purpose of their visit is to intimate the Authority about the achievements recorded, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, to engender zero tolerance to corruption in the port as well as remove opaqueness in port operations in line with international best practice.
He mentioned that the Nigerian port ecosystem has witnessed a positive change in the last three years, as reported demands made by corrupt public officials on ship-masters and shipping agents in the process of vessel clearance have reduced from three to two digits.
He further said that his group from 2017 has trained over a thousand personnel serving in the port, including staff of NPA, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Immigrations Service, and other agencies, across all port locations in the country.
Apampa appealed to the NPA Management to sustain the collaboration with his group.
I was never in charge of maritime industry —Saraki
It could also be recalled that Amaechi had made a couple of visits to the Lekki deep seaport, even on a Sunday, before the presidential visit, none of which Saraki attended.
” Gbemi is also made of sterner stuff given her role in the “Otoge” political tsunami in Kwara which eventually swept off Bukola Saraki, her blood brother, from the political dominance in Kwara politics, a role which earned her the present position in the present dispensation.
“Today is my fifth week of assuming the leadership of the Ministry of Transportation”, she declared last week Friday in Lagos.
“We came to take stock of the sector. We had taken the stock of the Road sector,” she said.
Giving her summation of her findings at the end of the tour, she declared” Apapa and Tin Can ports are in terrible need of repairs.
“We will go and come back for repairs.
“We have the short, medium, and long-term plans for this. We need to start with rehabilitation here. Another problem here is power”
The Minister met various groups who are stakeholders in the industry.
Among them are women groups in maritime, terminal operators, stevedores, maritime workers union groups, haulage, and transport operators, maritime lawyers, freight forwarders, and maritime press.
We have political will to ensure CVFF is disbursed—-Saraki
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Rukayyat Gbemisola Saraki has expressed willingness to muster the necessary political will to ensure the controversial Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds (CVFF) are disbursed before she leaves office.
“In the course of this visit, I have also interacted with so many stakeholders, including the indigenous ship owners.
“It is really a shame that this fund has not been disbursed, I learnt the value is $350 million now and I am not sure any part of it is missing.
She added that the disbursement would follow the approval by the National Assembly after beneficiaries must have been shortlisted.
P&ID fraud : Court convicts, winds up Marqott Nigeria Limited.
Justice D.U Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has convicted and wound up Marqott Nigeria Limited, one of the 30 companies associated with the Process and Industrial Development Limited, P & ID, for money laundering.
The company was convicted on Thursday, June 16, 2022, after being found guilty of four-count charges bordering on money laundering preferred against it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Count one of the charges read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of activities of Marqott Nigeria Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Count two read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to develop programs to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Marqott Nigeria Limited, contrary to Section 16(1)(f) read together with Section 9(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.
At the point of the first arraignment on February 7, 2022, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, setting the stage for a full trial.
In the course of the trial, the EFCC presented many witnesses and tendered many documents as exhibits.
In his judgment, Justice Okorowo found Marqott Nigeria Limited guilty of all the four-count charges and convicted it accordingly. He also ordered that the company be wound up and its entire assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Marqott was first arraigned on Monday, February 7, 2022, for being an accomplice in the $9.6bn Gas Supply and Processing Agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
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